Sunday, January 18, 2009

It Works! But then......

The powder room project has been one big roller coaster ride. You've already heard about the painting fiasco which finally came to a happy ending. Next was getting the high tank toilet in service.

Two more orders and I finally had everything I needed to put the tank in operation. I ordered new flush and fill assemblies from DEA Bath. They weren't cheap, but the quality was impressive - all copper and brass construction. So I enlarged the hole for the flush and installed everything in the tank. I left the back off so I could do a leak test and see most of the joints in the copper tank.

Well 24 hrs with no leaks I was comfortable to hang it on the wall. I finish up the assembly, hang on the wall.... and guess what?? Yep a slow drip. Take it down, clear RTV the solder joints on the inside of the tank, reinstall - and still a leak. Back down, dissassemble everything, and notice the leak appeared to come from the flush assembly donut through the tank. So I RTV the outside solder joints just in case, then reassemble using some putty along with the donut gaskets. Passed the first leak test without back and final assembly test. Back on the wall this time all was good.

Then it took three tries to get the spud on bowl end leak free. Finished the fill line install and it was ready for business. I must say these units have one heck of a flush! I guess the 7 feet of head pressure helps. So all was right with the powder room and finally could concentrate all my energy to the kitchen........ until

The cold came - I mean the REALLY COLD came. Since the plumbing was redone in the bath/kitchen, I've only had one trouble spot with freezing - right where a cold line 90's up and was against a cinderblock skirting the back section of house. I had a fix in mind for this, but didn't get to it yet. Last year I removed the exposed cinderblock and rebuilt the original style beadboard skirt where the deck didn't cover it. Needless to say it's not airtight, but last winter I had no problems, so figured the pipe insualtion was enough.

Then came temps under 10 degrees and the pipes froze.... all of them! So saturday I spend building a sealed/insulated inner wall around the skirt, and was going to heat trace the pipes until I heard some bad things about that. Ended up just adding another layer if insulation. I got as far as freeing up all but the tub lines and thought I was in the clear. Then I hear the noise and it wasn't the tub starting to flow like I thought.

Go under and see the hole in the pipe. No biggie, I'll cut and solder a coupling at the break. Well no coupling in stock, go to HD and back, couple the pipe and take a look around. Hmmmm, how di water spray over here??? Oh hell, another break thawing out. Then another.... five in all. Its about 8pm at this point, and it ain;t getting fixed today. So I cut out the bad stuff and figure I'll leave the powder room out of commision till I feel like going down in the crawl space again. That was till this morning when Rach tried to do laundry. The cold line tees off this run - back in the hole! So brain storm, I go to HD and pick up a pair of valves with the compression fittings to pop on the lines to the tub. 10 minute job, valve them out, and laundry, toilet and bath sink are back in service. At this point the tub can wait till spring.
The last fix was to open up the crawl space to the basement again as recommended by a friend. Since the space is pretty tight from the outside, it should acclimate to the basement temp and keep the pipes even happier. I built a filler piece when I first moved in to seal this off, and didn't want to completely open this up in case of any critters getting in the crawl space, so I ended up cutting in a vent, which will let the air through and the keep any critters out.

Ah, what an adventure this powder room has been.

1 comment:

Christopher Busta-Peck said...

While I've spent plenty of time looking at the goodies at DEA Bath, I hadn't thought about them for new parts for my old toilet. The guts of it are really on their last legs - every time I fix one thing, another issue shows up. Thanks for the heads up on them.